Raised in Milan, Emma Missale, 25 years old, is the current WTF (Women – TransFemale) world messenger champion.
Emma became passionate about cycling in high school, using bikes as her only means of transport for moving across the city, watching videos of messenger riding on youtube.
Upon graduating from high school she took her CV to UBM, Milan’s leading messenger company, the same day she applied for university.
The next four years of her life were spent combining messenger work with studies in urbanism, where, in her own words, her experiences as a messenger gave her a kind of “inside knowledge”.
“The first time I became aware of Cinelli – Emma continues – was in high school, watching youtube videos and pictures on Instagram, but the first time I could examine a Cinelli in real life was when I started working at UBM and racing alleycats in Milan.
Cinelli was a must in the Milanese urban cycling scene at the time and there were some really iconic frames connected to that period like the black on black Vigorelli from 2013 or the black and red Gazzetta.
The first Cinelli I owned was the Cinelli MASH Work – today offered by Cinelli under the TUTTO name – that UBM gave me. At the time Cinelli sponsored UBM with bikes and they’d received 9 Work frames in a mix of sizes. For once in my life being small was to my advantage and even though I’d been working there for a very short amount of time they gave me a left over extra small.
I’ve used it on bikepacking trips, alleycats, work, everything, and it still remains the bike that I like the most, together with my Omnium cargo. It is also the bike I won the Worlds in NYC on this year as well as in Jakarta in 2019.
What I like about the bike is mainly its clearances: the fact that I can put wider tyres on it and still ride fixed allows me to participate in different kinds of events, especially cyclo- tracklocross races and meet new people. The XS fits me perfectly and with the tight geometries I can use a longer stem and have a decent seatpost height. The cantilever/v-brake mounts are also super useful when you need brakes or a front-rack.
My other Cinelli is a 2022 Vigorosa which has a completely different feeling. It was my first full aluminium bike and I was surprised how hard I could push it on corners… it’s extremely fun and I’m looking forward to using it for some important races like this year’s Respvblica on the 15th of April!”
Currently Emma is continuing her career as a messenger in Copenhagen for By-Expressen. Being a bike messenger remains for Emma the best way to continue to hone her insights as an urbanist:
“One of the fundamental lessons of urbanism is to observe a space and its dynamics. There are different ways to do so, but riding a bike gives the opportunity to experience cycling (and non-) infrastructure from an interactive perspective.
Being a courier allows you to observe critical points and potentials on a daily bases, on a diffuse spectrum. I’ve always thought that messengers should play an active role in the design of new cycling routes, implementing accessibility through sharing knowledge and I’m happy that different projects in this direction are taking place in Milan right now.
Another great resource I found fundamental during the years was participating to the different messenger championships, taking it as an opportunity to study cities and noting best practices around the world.
Working in Copenhagen at By-Expressen for the past two years has been a huge step on this path…”